After 27 years of party hopping, the last 12 for The Advocate, I am retiring.
It is a decision I made with mixed emotions. But, with no parties on the horizon, the pandemic has forced my hand earlier than I ever intended. However, I am excited about what my next chapter might bring.
This column has given me a front-row seat to all that is good in our city, from the nonprofit organizations that prop us up when we need help to the cultural gems that enrich our lives to the people who graciously give of their time, talent and treasure to help make life worth living.
I’ve met a diverse group of people over the years that I never would have gotten to know were it not for this job. My life has been immensely enriched as a result. Many of you I now proudly call friends.
I’d love to mention you all by name, but I’m afraid I’d leave someone out and that would haunt me. But there are three steel magnolias who have inspired me to be a better person. If you've been lucky enough to know Sue Turner and the late Mary Frey Eaton and Winnie Byrd, you’ve been blessed.
People always ask what my favorite parties are, and that's just an impossible list to make. Honestly, every party, reception, meet-and-greet and opening night have been special in their own way, and I will greatly miss them and all of you.
I will take a brief stroll down memory lane to mention a few great events that stick in my mind, such as the 2018 Washington Mardi Gras, when King Todd Graves and Queen Anna Reilly reigned over three days of nonstop partying.
The Baton Rouge Symphony’s Irene & C.B. Pennington Great Performers in Concert Series has brought amazing talent to town, from YoYo Ma and Itzhak Perlman to Natalie Cole and Johnny Mathis to Chicago and Trisha Yearwood. My all-time favorite was jazz trumpeter Chris Botti.
Likewise, the Our Lady of the Lake Foundation’s Gala featuring Lionel Richie (we had an Alabama-bonding moment backstage) was truly magical, as were all the Louisiana Art & Science Museum’s galas.
When the Baton Rouge Speech & Hearing Center changed its name to the Emerge Center, it created a new fundraiser called “Emerge into …” Everyone who turns up for this event comes dressed in theme, whether it's ABBA, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones or the '70s for a night with former Journey lead singer Steve Augeri.
Dancing for Big Buddy, where I got into the act in 2010 and 2016, is always a winner. And, who doesn't love the Companion Animal Alliance’s Fur Ball, where, of course, everything goes to the dogs.
Baton Rouge Gallery’s Surreal Salon Soirée takes place in January, and as last year's event proved, this has grown into a monster event in the artistic community.
Finally, I have to mention the Spanish Town Mardi Gras Ball, which is a party unlike any other.
In this year unlike any other, I just want to once again thank you for making me a part of your events. Let's hope the party train is soon rolling again.